Nick & Sam's

Made it to Nick & Sam's last week for a guy's night out. I haven't done this in a while, so I hadn't had a good steak in a while, but this was far better than I ever remember it. I had the bone-in filet, and although it made a big difference in the flavor, there were no flaws in the steak either. You can go to plenty of reputable establishments and still wind up with a portion of the meat overdone or fatty. The rest of the steak is great, but that small encounter leaves a bad taste in your memory. This steak, this bone-in filet, this was totally worth the upgrade price and then some.

Also ordered were the "Damn Good Fries," which arrived in the form of a heaping pile of seasoned potatos that didn't seem to have an end. For dessert, I split hot fresh doughnuts with the evening's spice of cinnamon.

Aside from that, yes the lighting is really dim. Fine for those like myself who prefer the cave, others are presented a small flashlight for reading the menu. The wine list was expansive and you would have to be a wine nerd or a regular drinker to recognize any of the names. The service was helpful and educated.

Finally, you will likely feel poor if you go here. I don't care what car you drive, it will still suck compared to the Rosso Corsa Ferrari F50 that the valet pulls around for the guy in front of you.


Coal Vines

I can't say that I can give Coal Vines a full review yet. I dropped by Monday only to pick up a pizza on my way somewhere. Still the place deserves some merit.

This isn't Pizza Inn. This isn't even Campisi's. The owner, Joe, dressed in a casually-expensive way greeted me at the patio. The place itself is a tight fit - maybe a dozen tables plus the bar. Where there weren't floor-to-ceiling shelves of wine, there were paintings. There was one television, a widescreen HD showing a ballgame.

From what I encountered, the service was very friendly. I could tell they were well-trained.

Parking is scarce. I nabbed the open spot for take-out. The rest were devoted to valet for Medici. This made me a little nervous, considering I drive a cheap car, had a bunch of Roland equipment in the backseat, and Joe was hanging out in the lot on his phone checking out the new Mercedes next to me. So I was constantly looking over my shoulder while I was waiting at the bar. At any rate, I'm sure it's not too hard to find a spot on the streets around there and walk a short distance.

As for the food? Well I didn't get to eating it until I arrived at my destination. By then, the pie was starting to get cold, although I could still get a feel for the flavor. New York style crust, long slices of red and green peppers and large chunks of sausage. Reminded me of some of the stuff I got in Corsica in way.

I'm going to have to go back for a table, get a proper menu, and wash it back with some wine.


Kenichi at the W

My wife and I went to Kenichi this weekend for her birthday. Kenichi is number four in a US chain of Japanese restaurants. This doesn't surprise me since nothing in Victory Park is an original except the American Airlines Center. Moving on...

The food was good. The service was good. The atmosphere was good. I think the real problem with the circa $150 tab for two was that in Dallas, this doesn't stand out. There are a number of established Japanese restaurants in the area that provide a hip atmosphere, the freshest fish, and creative twists on traditional cuisine.

Granted, I should go back and try more of the cooked menu since we stuck mostly to the sushi. My wife did rave about the Godzilla roll, what I remember to be a Caterpillar Roll with strawberries on top, but it didn't really hit me. And the place was hopping with younger energy. As we were leaving, we passed a crowd of seemingly single folk in the late-20's or early-30's bracket drinking by the bar. If I were single and drove a Porsche too, then I would totally be joining them.

Finally, the valet was subsidized by the restaurant at $5, a fair price considering folks heading to shows down there would pay upwards of $15 for parking. There's also the option of taking the special-event line to Victory Station, but you have to plan your return trip with the exodus of the evening's major event. But it won't be long until 2009 when the station is a permanent stop on the future Green and Orange Lines.

Follow-up: Kenichi called the following week to make sure we enjoyed our dinner. Service++.